BA History of Art
In this Section:
This course allows you to explore the ways in which art has been produced and received by different communities over the last 2,000 years.
We do not take for granted that ‘art’ has been understood in the same way around the world through time. You’ll learn about the history of art and to think critically about its development and effects, examining the social history of art in a challenging and thought-provoking way. You’ll consider some of the theories and approaches, from aesthetics to anthropology, that can help us to interpret works of art.
You’ll choose from a wide range of optional modules to focus on topics that suit your own interests. These include studies of ancient Greek art, African sculpture, Japanese photography and Hollywood blockbusters, as well as contemporary art practice. You’ll benefit from the interdisciplinary research of our School, with modules available in art gallery and heritage studies and the chance to study alongside cultural theorists and practising artists.
The University has a variety of resources to support your learning and research. We have a wide range of museum collections and galleries on campus such as the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery and the Brotherton Library Treasures Gallery. ULITA – An Archive of International Textiles – is housed on campus to collect, preserve and document textiles and related areas from around the world.
The University also houses a wealth of modern and contemporary art that make up the Art on Campus displays of sculpture, in addition to the Yorkshire Fashion Archive and the Marks & Spencer Company Archive and exhibition displays. These resources all offer exciting opportunities for our students to engage with art and culture.
Year 1 will equip you with the fundamental skills and knowledge for art historical analysis. Core modules will teach you to ‘read’ rather than ‘look at’ an image in different contexts and you’ll be introduced to key themes and interpretative methods in the subject.
You’ll examine different cultures and materials and consider the intentions and identities of artists. A choice of optional modules will allow you to study topics like cultural or media history, or country house or museum studies, or to develop your own artistic work in our studios.
You’ll build on this knowledge in Year 2, when further core modules will deepen your understanding of the complex relationship between art and society. Through exploring a variety of approaches, these modules encourage you to think critically and analytically about works of art.
In addition, you’ll shape your studies to suit your interests when you choose from a wider range of optional modules, which cover art historical topics from African art to the New York School as well as museum studies, critical theory and the contemporary art market.
By your final year, you’ll be able to apply your research and critical skills to an independently researched dissertation on a topic of your choice. To complement and support your research, you’ll select additional modules from the diverse options on offer. If you choose, you can take one fewer optional module and go into greater depth on an extended dissertation.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
- Elements of Visual Culture I 20 credits
- Elements of Visual Culture II 20 credits
- A Story of Art I 20 credits
- A Story of Art 2 20 credits
- Introduction to Cultural Analysis 20 credits
- Cultural History 20 credits
- Studio Work (Materiality and Process) 20 credits
- Cinema and Media History 20 credits
- The English Country House: Making and Meaning 20 credits
- Introduction to Museum and Art Gallery Studies 20 credits
- Art History and Art Historiography 20 credits
- Keywords 20 credits
- The New York School 20 credits
- Post-Colonial Critique 20 credits
- The Art Market: Moments, Methodologies, Meanings 20 credits
- Heritage and History 1: Whose Heritage? 20 credits
- Danish Golden Age Painting 20 credits
- Borromini and the Roman Baroque: Skill, Knowledge, and Material?s Potential 20 credits
- Careers Preparation for Arts and Culture 20 credits
- Dissertation 40 credits
- Cultural Diversity in Museum and Material Culture - Case Study 20 credits
- Sins, Sinisters and Sciapods: The Margins of Medieval Art 20 credits
- Anthropology, Art and Representation 20 credits
- The Ripped and the Raw: Aspects of European Art 1945-1960 20 credits
- Africa and the Atlantic World: History, Historiography and the Visual Arts 20 credits
Broadening your academic horizons
At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. This course gives you the opportunity to broaden your learning by studying discovery modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.
Learning and teaching
We use a range of teaching and learning methods to help you benefit from the expertise of your tutors. These will include lectures, seminars, screenings, tutorials, workshops and field trips. You’ll also be able to attend talks by visiting artists and speakers, as well as workshops, conferences, exhibitions and other events.
Independent study is also crucial to the degree, allowing you to develop important critical and research skills and to form your own ideas.
You’ll be assessed using a variety of methods, allowing you to build different skills. Usually these will include essays, exams and module presentations, as well as small-scale research projects and your dissertation.
A high percentage of graduates from this course go on to postgraduate study. However, others have pursued careers in curating, arts education in organisations such as galleries, colleges and universities, journalism, arts administration, image researching, PR and auctioneering.
Graduates from our School have gone on to work at the Guggenheim Museum in Venice, the Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The Saatchi Gallery, The Henry Moore Institute, National Trust, Bonham’s, Leeds City Museums, The Hepworth Gallery, The Geffrye Museum London, The Heritage Lottery Fund and the Rydale Folk Museum.
Some examples of roles they have gone on to have include Head of House and Collections at Harewood House, Events Manager at the National Portrait Gallery, PR Officer at Christie’s (London and New York), Lecturer at the University of Leeds and Chief Curator at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. Thats one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America.
Find out more at the Study Abroad website.
Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.
Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.